Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Belgium Fat Tire Review

Brewery: New Belgium Brewing | Beer: Fat Tire
Style: American Amber Ale | ABV: 5.2%
Serving Method: 12 oz. bottle poured into pint glass

New Belgium Fat TireFat Tire, an American Amber Ale, is the flagship brew of Colorado's New Belgium Brewery. New Belgium's founder, Jeff Lebesch, took a bicycle trip through Belgium back in 1989. As he made his way through the villages, he fell in love with the Belgian style of brewing. Upon arriving home to Fort Collins, be took to the basement and came up with two beers: Fat Tire and Abbey Belgian Ale. Fat Tire was named after his steed during the bicycle trip, and became his new brewery's best-known creation.

One of New Belgium's key philosophies is making their beer as sustainable as possible. The company used green design ideas while designing the brewery, treats their own waste-water on-site, is powered exclusively by either methane derived from waste-water treatment or wind power, and donates one percent of its revenues to help fund environmental non-profits. These guys really walk-the-walk when it comes to being green and they should be congratulated for it. If only more breweries and companies were as committed to the future as New Belgium, the world would be a better place.

In the interest of full disclosure, I feel it fair to inform you that Fat Tire was one of the biggest "gateway beers" during my journey into the world of craft-brewing and I have quite a soft spot for it. On a somewhat less relevant note, my absolute favorite neon beer sign of all time is the classic Fat Tire bicycle. I was lucky enough to be able to buy one from a local swap meet when I graduated from college way back in 2007. All of that being said, I'm confident that I can deliver a fair assessment of the beer. I hope.

Appearance: Clear, copper-orange body with a two-finger, off-white head that easily rises above the edge of the glass. Lacing is brilliant and really lasts.

Aroma: Fat Tire has always been a bit thin on the nose. What you can detect is sweet, biscuity malt and a whiff of citrus.

Taste: Lightly-roasted, sweet, biscuity malt is the center-piece of Fat tire. A subdued, earthly hop-bitterness helps to balance the malt. Occasional shades of booze at the finish. The biscuity malt endures in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, somewhat creamy, and medium-bodied. Carbonation is moderate, in keeping with the style.

Drinkability: I know for a fact that one can drink a twelve pack in the course of an evening. I guess that says it all really.

Verdict: Fat tire is a nicely balanced, biscuity Amber Ale. Securely above average, but certainly not the most exciting beer in the New Belgium stable. A terrific "gateway beer," If there's ever been one. I owe this beer a lot.

Grade: A-


Anonymous said...

Hippies enjoy mediocre beer a lot more than people that are concerned with the economy. Fat Tire gets a thumbs down for the money.

Dustin said...

I have always loved Fat Tire and, like you, it had a soft spot in my heart for some reason. Months will go by and I wont have one, and when I do get around to having one again, it is always just as good as i remember. Glad you like it too. Nice review.